Olive Allen, a Russian national and artist who has lived in the United States for more than 11 years, has burned her mother country’s passport in the hopes of raising awareness and funds related to the military conflict in Ukraine. Allen spoke to Cointelegraph Friday and described herself as a “child of new Russia”. She said that the country would always be part of her identity but that she had decided to end all ties with it due to its recent actions in Ukraine. Allen stood in front of New York’s Consulate General for the Russian Federation and burned her Russian passport. She claimed it was the only copy she had. The proceeds would go to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. Allen stated that she does not consider Putin’s Russia her home. “Our country has such an immense potential, but the government has been f—ing people over for eternity.”
Allen, who has been involved in the crypto space since early 2018 following the December 2017 Bitcoin (BTC) bull run, said the decision to burn her passport was prompted by being unable to see herself ever returning to the country under its current leadership. She stated that she was against the narrative that all Russian civilians support military action against Ukraine. However, she said she knew of people who had been brainwashed into supporting the regime.
” I love my country, but I don’t believe in Putin’s Russia. In the current circumstances, I can’t imagine myself living there. What’s happening right now is just heartbreaking.”
The auction of her burning passport NFT went live on the SuperRare marketplace on Friday. Allen said she will use funds from the sale to donate Ether (ETH) directly to Save the Children, an organization aimed at helping children around the world from issues such as trafficking, early marriage, being unable to obtain an education and fleeing from violence. Allen stated that she would rather send funds to humanitarian efforts than to the military. Save the Children is currently accepting crypto donations through the nonprofit fundraising platform Giving Block in BTC and ETH for the roughly 7.5 million children “caught in the crossfire of war” in Ukraine. NFT artist claimed that by burning her passport in public, she was making it difficult to repatriate because of her views about the government.
” I could not return to Russia under the current regime — and I will be arrested immediately,” Allen said. People go to Russia jail for less. I’ve cut off my chances of coming back, I mean at least during the current regime.”
I’m a Russian artist and I burned my passport because I do not believe in Putin’s Russia & I do not support the war in Ukraine
I’m auctioning off my Burnt Passport NFT to raise funds for the people of Ukraine impacted by the war.
Friday, 1pm ET @SuperRare pic.twitter.com/Vnf8turjVH
— Olive Allen (@IamOliveAllen) March 3, 2022
In general, burning one’s passport doesn’t automatically renounce citizenship to any country. According to a federal law introduced in 2002, a person residing abroad can withdraw their Russian citizenship of their “own free will” except in cases where they are under indictment in Russia, possess no other country’s citizenship, or owe “an outstanding obligation to the Russian Federation.”
Allen would likely need to present an undamaged passport to a Russian consulate and fill out paperwork to legally cut ties with the country. Although she indicated that she may pursue this route, she stated that she was “on a red list” and would be afraid of being arrested if she returned to Russia.
Cryptocurrency has become a major issue in discussions around both sending funds to Ukraine and Russia potentially circumventing sanctions from the United States and the European Union. Twitter accounts for both Ukraine and the country’s minister of digital transformation posted addresses to solicit crypto donations in BTC, ETH, Tether (USDT), Polkadot (DOT) and Dogecoin (DOGE), and U.S. and EU lawmakers have pushed for regulatory clarity on crypto over concerns Russia may utilize digital assets to evade sanctions.